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can I give 2 weeks discover when my employer says they “count on” 4 weeks? — Ask a Supervisor


A reader writes:

I work at a big healthcare system and I’m exploring new alternatives. We’ve got a resignation coverage that states that salaried staff (I fall into that class) are anticipated to offer at the very least 4 weeks written discover of resignation. Moreover, it contains that personnel data will mirror if somebody leaves earlier than the “required” discover interval.

In earlier departures from organizations, I’ve given a two-weeks discover with out an excessive amount of problem. Any ideas on giving solely a two-week discover with my present employer even with the four-weeks discover expectation?

Yeah, some organizations are keen on asserting that they “count on” longer-than-standard discover durations from staff, with none actual capability to require it.

Let’s discuss this in philosophical phrases earlier than we get to the sensible ones.

Assuming that we’re speaking concerning the U.S., the place two weeks discover is the skilled customary, and assuming that you simply don’t have an precise contract requiring longer discover (most U.S. staff don’t have contracts in any respect), more often than not that is B.S.:

1. Initially, two weeks is the skilled conference. It’s what our employment system is constructed round, and usually employers make do with that simply advantageous. (It’s value noting that discover durations aren’t supposed to offer your employer time to rent and prepare your alternative — for many jobs, even 4 weeks wouldn’t be lengthy sufficient for that. Relatively, a discover interval is simply supposed to offer time so that you can wrap up initiatives and transition them to whoever can be protecting them within the interim.)

2. Anticipating further discover can put staff in tough positions with their subsequent jobs. It’s not usually too onerous to set a begin date for a brand new job 4 weeks off, however if you wish to take any break day in between jobs, now you’re pushing the beginning date out additional, and it could begin to get more durable to barter that.

3. When your employer has chosen to not give staff contracts (once more, like most American employers) with a view to protect their capability to terminate your employment each time they need, it’s fairly absurd to “count on” discover from you that they’re not prepared to decide to themselves. (To be honest, in case your employer all the time pays severance once they finish somebody’s employment — and when that severance all the time covers at the very least the identical variety of weeks of discover that they need from you — this argument holds much less water.)

4. Furthermore, most employers that ask for 4 weeks of discover or longer don’t trouble to make use of that point properly. Lots of people who give greater than two weeks discover discover that their employers don’t begin on substantive transition work till near the tip of that interval anyway.

So there’s the argument in opposition to it.

In sensible phrases, what occurs should you give two weeks discover in case your group requires 4? It relies on the group. In a few of them, completely nothing — typically that wording has been within the handbook without end however individuals give two weeks discover on a regular basis and nobody thinks something of it … or they’d like extra discover however are conscious they gained’t get it each time. In different circumstances, they’ll warn you that there’s a penalty for doing it — like that you simply gained’t get your remaining accrued trip time paid out (in states the place they’re not legally required to pay it) or that you have to give the total 4 weeks with a view to stay in good standing of their system, in case you apply once more sooner or later. In concept it’s one thing that might come up in a future reference test too … however “we ask for 4 weeks of discover and she or he solely gave two” isn’t particularly damning.

And actually, in each group I’ve seen that requested for 3 or 4 weeks of discover, some individuals nonetheless resigned with much less and simply defined that their circumstances dictated that, and it goes advantageous. (It may not go advantageous should you’re coping with a very problematic boss … however then the boss is extra the issue than your discover interval is.) Most often, individuals are advantageous saying, “I do know you like 4 weeks of discover, however sadly I couldn’t make the timing work out. However I’ll be right here till (date two weeks away) and I’m dedicated to doing every little thing I can to assist with a clean transition.”

Now, there are some exceptions to this — jobs the place longer discover isn’t simply desired however is actually an trade norm past that one firm, or the place there’s clearly good cause for it (and healthcare, your area, is commonly a type of). For those who’re in a type of and everybody you’re employed with has all the time given the total 4 weeks — or somebody didn’t and it brought on nice scandal — then you definately most likely want to stick to these norms.

However for most individuals, longer discover durations are extra the employer’s hope than a real requirement* that has penalties for breaking it. The most effective factor you are able to do is to know your tradition, know what individuals leaving earlier than you’ve got performed, resolve how a lot you care about what penalties (if any) your employer imposes on shorter discover durations, after which time your discover accordingly.

* To be clear, even two weeks discover isn’t a requirement, within the sense that there’s no authorized solution to implement it. Leaving with out discover can hurt your repute and have an effect on future references — and I usually advise avoiding it besides in uncommon circumstances — however employers can’t make you keep should you resolve to depart sooner. 

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